home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


May 11, 2016

Bernhard Langer

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

ALEX URBAN: We'd like to welcome Bernhard Langer into the interview room. You're here at THE PLAYERS Championship by way of your victory at the Constellation Senior PLAYERS Championship. Talk about your victories for the last two years, but more specifically last year which got you into this year and what it means to be back here at TPC Sawgrass playing THE PLAYERS.

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it means a lot to be back here. This is one of my favorite venues and favorite tournaments. Always has been. I was always pretty vocal, even in the 80s when I first played here. I immediately liked the golf course.

I think it just doesn't favor anybody. It's there for the medium length hitter, for the long hitter, even for the shorter hitters. It's a precision golf course, and you have to be very precise. The wind makes it tough, and then the finishing holes are extremely tough.

It's just an exciting venue, and for me to have been able to come back here last two years, obviously the only way for me to be here is winning the Constellation Senior PLAYERS Championship, and to have been able to do that was a wonderful thing for me personally.

Last year we played in Boston, got off to a really good start. Jumped ahead on the first round, and then never gave up the lead and just cruised home with a pretty nice comfortable lead at the end.

I was thrilled to hear that I could come -- to hear that I could be back here again.

Last year was special because we had Martin Kaymer win THE PLAYERS Championship. I won the Senior PLAYERS Championship, so that was pretty cool for the two of us to hold those titles, and well, we'll see what happens this year.

ALEX URBAN: Maybe a quick comment, for those who don't know, Bernhard actually has the most birdies in the history of THE PLAYERS Championship on the 17th hole with 25, six birdie lead over Hal Sutton. What is it about the 17th hole that fits your eye?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I like the hole. It's an exciting hole. Your heartbeat goes up when you walk towards that tee shot, especially when the wind blows. You know it's going to be a very demanding, tricky shot. You have to control your trajectory. You have to control your distance.

And I've hit a couple in the water, but I've hit a lot of great shots, and as you say, made more birdies than anybody else.

I think it's not one of those 230-yard par-3s or whatever. It's a 9-iron, sometimes a pitching wedge. For some of these young guys it may even be less, I don't know. But it's all about precision and controlling your shot and being able to pull it off when you are nervous, and I guarantee you, everybody is going to be nervous on that hole because it's just -- all you see is water and a little bit of island up there, and you've got to hit your -- pick a spot and then hit your spot and pull it off.

Q. Can you compare this golf course now to what it was like in '84 when you first came here?
BERNHARD LANGER: I think this is one of the courses they've made more tweaks and changes than most others. When I first played it, it had already been tweaked on a number of occasions, and it's really -- you know, that's often what it takes to make it into a fantastic golf course.

I remember we used to have some lies that, you miss the green by six inches, and it would take a wicked bounce and then up on a downslope and six inches of rough, and you had nothing.

Most of that is gone now. The way they've prepared the golf course this year, with a lot less rough, I think it's a lot fairer. Still very demanding, but they've made so many great changes for the better, and it's really a fantastic venue, and people love watching it on TV, and they love coming out and seeing us in person.

Q. You've had so much success in your career despite the putting issues that you've talked about many times. I'm just wondering if, whenever that first started, was there a fear that, my career is over, or, I might not ever be able to do this? Obviously you worked through it and you've done so a couple of times with great success, but I just wonder if you can remember what that was like the very first time that it was bothering you.
BERNHARD LANGER: It started the very first time I got on TOUR. I was 18, driving to Portugal and Spain in a car, which took forever, but when I got there, the greens were lightning fast, and I wasn't used to that. I grew up on pretty slow greens in Germany and developed the yips right there and then, the first two or three weeks on TOUR.

Yeah, I had no idea if I was ever going to make it, because if you have continuous putting problems, you will not.

If it goes on for months and months, you lose your exempt status or confidence or whatever, and that's it; might as well find another job basically.

I've had it happen four times in my career and been able to overcome it, but yeah, every time you have it, you wonder, well, will this ever go away and when and how. You know how it is; when we're in a dark valley, we can't always see the light at the end of the tunnel and you want to get out of there as soon as possible.

Q. Did you feel for Ernie at the Masters? I'm sure you saw and heard all about that. I don't know if you even talked to him.
BERNHARD LANGER: No, I didn't have a chance to talk to him, but yeah, it was shown so many times it was hard not to see in a sense. I felt for him, and I'm not sure it was a case of yips in this instance. He just -- it can happen. Instead of hitting the center of the hole, you hit the lip and then it accelerates coming out of there, and you're just constantly facing four-,five-, six-foot putts or more, and there's no guarantee on a breaking putt.

The last one I guess he just did something like that, and we've all -- many of us have done that and missed a few putts, so we should know better, but when you're down, and what you say, just desperate or whatever, you just do it and you pay the price.

But I think he putted very well the next day, so we're pretty sure it wasn't a case of the yips.

Q. Talking about your putting again, so many guys when the rules changed went back to the short putter, but you kept the long putter. Can you explain your process, how you figured that out, exactly how you putt now?
BERNHARD LANGER: I spent -- I always said I wanted to finish last year with the long putter, because I was in contention to win the Schwab Cup.

I was putting okay. I was playing good, and I didn't want to mess in the middle of my season trying something different, so I finished off the year with the long putter until Schwab Cup was over, and I won it, and it was November.

So then I spent a lot of my time end of November, December, January, February, March trying all sorts of putters. My office looked like a club manufacturer, basically. I had probably 30 different kinds of putters, different lengths, different grips on the putter, and then I tried different grips, as well. I went from regular to cross-handed to what I used to do for seven years, clutching my forearm, to claw. You name it, whatever, it's been tried out there, even side-saddle. I pretty much experimented with it.

It was a process and a very tiring process, if I may say so, because I spent hours and hours doing things on the putting green. When you think about the many possibilities of 32-inch putter, then a 34, then a 36, then this, then that, it takes time, and I really put a lot of effort into it for several months, and the conclusion was that, at this point in time, I was still the most comfortable with the putter I had used for the last 18 years, even though it was not anchored any more.

That's why I've started off the season with the same putter, just instead of holding it against my chest, I hold it away from my chest, and I've actually had pretty good success. I haven't finished outside -- my worst finish was 11th. I've played six or seven tournaments. Well, if you don't take the Masters, but even the Masters was a fairly good tournament overall, and I've won one tournament.

So it is harder. I would be lying to you if I said I'd prefer this method over anchoring; I don't. I'm still confused, or I don't agree with the ban, because it makes no sense, really. It doesn't. We have bigger issues in the game of golf, and you're taking a method or a club away from amateurs who really enjoyed the game with that style of putting and who really struggle now. We might lose people playing the game of golf when we really should do anything and everything we can to grow the game instead of hurting it. That's my personal opinion.

Q. As Alex mentioned, you've made the most birdies at 17. Marc Leishman has played it 20 times in his career and hasn't found the water yet, so I guess --
BERNHARD LANGER: Good for him.

Q. I'm just wondering, from your perspective, how impressive is that, given that the water can be intimidating at 17 a little bit.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it's impressive. Sooner or later everybody is going to end up there if you play long enough, but I'm paired with him, so I hope he's not going to do it when I'm there.

Q. Any of those four times you mentioned that you went through the yip issue, did you find you put so much more pressure on your long game during that stretch, because you want to hit it close, and then does that make that even -- problems seep into that part of the game?
BERNHARD LANGER: No doubt about it. There was pressure with that. There was pressure on chipping and bunker game and all that because I knew I had to get it within two feet, not four or five feet basically, to guarantee that it was going to go in, and then that's a lot of pressure to hit every bunker shot and chip shot and pitch shot to two feet. Nobody can do that. So it feeds its way into the whole game, yes.

Q. What do you do to stay physically fit? Do you have a routine and can you explain what you do in that way?
BERNHARD LANGER: I have a stretching routine every morning and every evening or before and after play. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes -- very grateful that we have these physio trucks following us around where we can get help, and then I work out. When I'm home, I work out every day pretty much, do probably 30 to 45 minutes of cardio, sometimes an hour spin class, and then I do some ropes and bands and light weights and some of the machines that are in our fitness center.

When I'm on TOUR I do a little bit less of that stuff. I still do a few specific golf exercises and some for the core, but not quite as intensive as at home.

I have never really done heavy weights. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. But I've just -- I get very sore when I do something and then it takes me three or four days to recover from it, and I can't do that. I don't want to be sore playing golf. I need to be able to feel good and get the most out of my body. That's pretty much my routine, but it changes. The only thing that doesn't change is the stretching part.

ALEX URBAN: Bernhard, thank you for your time. Good luck this week.

BERNHARD LANGER: Very welcome. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297